5th Annual Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge

Three elite New York hospitals flexed their nutrition and culinary might in the 5th Annual HFAA “Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge” held at the ICE (Institute of Culinary Education, New York) on March 14, 2013.

60 minutes to prep and plate; application of  state of the art culinary artistry; utilization of the event’s  “Iron Chef style” mystery ingredient “PORK LOIN” in all 3 dishes of a salad, an appetizer and an entrée; innovating “sure win recipes” fit for the discriminating palates of the healthcare clientele; and staying charged, tracked and grounded in the healthcare mission of HEALTH and HEALING, were just among the major challenges raised to the defending champion NY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL/WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER  and contenders NY Methodist Hospital and the St. Charles Hospital. 

The audience of peppered all competing teams with cheers and awes over a hundred healthcare food service, business partners, and culinary enthusiasts. Barry Kriesberg, VP of Administration at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center enthusiastically emceed the event keeping the audience entertained and engaged. The bar of healthcare foodservice has been raised through its breed of aggressively outcome- oriented and talented chefs, equipped to perform and stay alive in the competitive edge.   From the mix and usage of healthy colorful fresh produce, the display of healthy cooking techniques, the blending of flavors, seasonings and spices, the matching of garnishing in plating/presentation, to permeating an array of aroma in the air and infusion of excitement and anticipation galore, tempered with humor and stress management, the teams all in unison sent one solid message, “ Healthcare is in it to win it “!

The competing Healthcare Foodservice Chef teams garnered neck to neck scores from a panel of 3 reputable culinary judges including Chef Michael Laiskonis, Creative Director and Richard Simpson, School Director at the Institute of Culinary Education and Chef Michael Salvatore, Director of Culinary Resources at SYSCO Foods.  Apart from the nutrition and culinary artistry standpoint, the teams were also rated on the aspects of sanitation, teamwork plus workflow, which were deemed equally essential criteria in the overall evaluation of performance in the real healthcare setting.   Food safety and cultural diversity amidst resource maximization are factors that cannot take a backseat in today’s healthcare arena.

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And the trophy went to the team that reigned supreme. The defending champion NY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL/WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER team led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Michael C. Williams, MBA, RD, CDN (which included team members Ross Posmentier, Senior Executive Chef; Hasan Culver, Amenity Chef; and Miriam Zamparelli, Executive Chef. 1st runner up honors went to the New York Methodist Hospital team led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Maura Doran,  RD (which included team members Jack Wolfe, Executive Chef; Michael Vigo, Cook; and Tiffini Ellis , Cook. The 2nd runner up honors went to St. Charles Hospital team led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Stephanie Giraulo, MBA, RD, CDN, (including team members Bill Dougherty, Chef; Kim Marie Vargas, Chef; and Mahindranath Maraj, Chef.)

The winning dishes showcased by NY Presbyterian /Weill Cornell Medical included:

  • Appetizer – Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Grilled String Beans
  • Salad – Grilled BBQ Vietnamese Pork Loin over Mixed Greens with Aromatic
  • Herbs, Mango and Snow Peas
  • Entrée – Middle Eastern Spiced Pork Loin over Spring Vegetable Risotto and Cumin
  • Roasted Vegetables

All the participants were winners in the healthcare foodservice industry and each member received a medal of honor. The winning team received a trophy, Victorinox knife set courtesy of PBAC & Associates, and a scholarship grant team’s Nutrition-Food Service Director, to attend the prestigious AHF National Conference June 5-8, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.

This year’s Big Apple Healthcare Culinary Challenge would not be possible without the support of sponsors US Foods, SYSCO Foods, Greater New York Hospital Association, and Institute of Culinary Education; and the tireless dedication of the HFAA board that worked way above and beyond 60 minutes to make this event a huge success!